Outburst gives B's chance at history
The Bruins put together a historic stretch of four minutes and 14 seconds to make sure they'd get another 60 minutes to play for the Cup.
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Boston exploded for four goals in that 4:14 span early in the first period, and that outburst was more than enough to propel them to a 5-2 win over the Canucks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night at the Garden.
The win evens the series at three games apiece and earns the Bruins a trip back to Vancouver for Game 7 on Wednesday, when another win will give the franchise its first Cup since 1972.
"It was do-or-die situation for us, obviously we wanted to make sure we had a big start," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "We got some momentum early. It was nice to get a big lead early on and kind of build on that throughout the game."
Marchand got things going with the first goal of the game just 5:31 in as he fired in a wrister from the right wing. Milan Lucic was next with a shot from the left slot off a feed by David Krejci. And when Boston's long-struggling power play even got in on the act with an Andrew Ference goal from the left point through a Mark Recchi screen in front, the Bruins had a 3-0 lead and Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo's night was over just 8:35 into the opening period.
The Bruins weren't done, though, as Michael Ryder greeted Canucks backup Cory Schneider with a deflection off a Tomas Kaberle shot to make it 4-0 at 9:45, completing a four-goal outburst in just 4:14. That was the fastest four goals scored by one team in Stanley Cup Final history.
That fourth goal made history, but it also gave the Bruins some relief from their own painful history, which has included a few too many blown 3-0 leads to ever feel comfortable with that margin.
"Getting that fourth goal was a big goal," Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. "The 3-0 lead, we had bad experiences with that in the past, even during the regular season a couple of times this year. So that [fourth goal] was big, but I didn't want to relax because I didn't want to give them any confidence and let them feel like they were going to get back into the game."
The Bruins didn't let the Canucks back in. They didn't score again until the third period, answering a Vancouver goal with their second power-play strike of the night, this one by Krejci on a two-man advantage.
But while they didn't score in the second period, they did shut out the Canucks again, maintaining their dominance in the middle frame, as they continue to hold an 8-0 edge in second-period scoring in the series. The Bruins didn't want to wait for the second period in this one, as they were determined to take control early.
"Usually we have a good second period, but it kind of changed today," Krejci said. "We had a good first period and went up 4-0.
"That was the key," Krejci added. "We scored early, the crowd got into it and we felt that energy and used it to our advantage and scored the next three goals in the next three or four minutes."
The Garden crowd was definitely a factor, as the building was rocking from the pregame festivities featuring Bruins legend Milt Schmidt and somehow managed to get even louder when the Bruins started piling up early goals and injured forward Nathan Horton made an appearance on the jumbotron to spur on both the fans and his teammates.
"It was crazy out there," Marchand said. "The fans were unbelievable. You could barely hear anyone talking on the bench during the game. Obviously it was great to be able to use that energy and emotion to get a couple early and be able to sit on it."
The Bruins won't be able to sit back and enjoy this victory for long, though. They'll be heading back across the continent on Tuesday for the ultimate showdown on Wednesday, a Game 7 clash for the Cup in Vancouver. Playing at Rogers Arena hasn't been kind to the Bruins, who have outscored the Canucks 17-3 in three wins at the Garden, but have scored just two goals in three one-goal losses in Vancouver.
But the Bruins have one more chance to break through in Vancouver, and they're determined to bring this same style of game to Rogers Arena on Wednesday when they play the franchise's first Game 7 in a Cup Final.
"We needed to come out hard tonight and I thought our guys responded," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We needed to come out hard the last two games before that because we were trailing 2-0 in the series. So our guys have responded well and now we have to make sure we don't get comfortable with our game. We're willing to bring it to Vancouver with us, because that's what it's going to take to win."